Promoting your learning project internally is one of the most significant steps in your L&D strategy. Unfortunately, it is also one of the easiest to neglect. Many teams fall into the trap of thinking that acquiring top-notch learning content is sufficient. However, in reality, that’s only half the battle. You can have the best learning content and the most advanced L&D platform, but if your learners don’t know about it, engagement will suffer and your L&D strategy won’t thrive.
In general, this comes down to two overarching problems. Firstly, many L&D teams don’t have the skills to promote learning internally and sustainably over a long period of time. Secondly, L&D teams haven’t communicated to employees the value they can add to their professional development.
To help overcome these issues, we’ve put together this guide to promoting your learning project internally. We’ll start by discussing L&D ambassadors and champions, before moving on to promoting learning to your learners and finishing with five essentials to promote your learning project internally.
One of the most effective ways to promote your learning project internally is via L&D ambassadors and champions. In particular, buy-in from executives and senior leaders can have a profound impact on your L&D program.
The good news is that executive championship is on the rise, according to LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report. As of March 2021, 62% of CEOs say they are “active champions” of learning in their organisations — a massive increase from just 27% in March 2020.
As LinkedIn’s report notes, “we know that when top leadership actively champions learning, it drives higher learner engagement and impact.” For example, 56% of employees say they would spend more time learning if their manager directed them to complete a specific course, while 75% say they would take a manager-suggested course. Clearly, buy-in from senior leadership can have far-reaching impacts on learner engagement.
As a recent report by Training Industry puts it, “acting as a ‘cheerleader’ for learning and development, internal champions help spread the word, build, carry and sustain the learning momentum...well beyond the walls of the learning department.”
Although executive championship is trending in the right direction, not all teams have a senior-level L&D ambassador to rely on. Go1’s 2020 State of Learning Report dubbed executive buy-in “the final hurdle” with 40% of L&D teams feeling this is missing from their strategies. Similarly, Training Industry finds that one-third of learning leaders have trouble securing a champion for training at their organisations.
Ultimately, Emerald Works’ 2020 Back to the Future Report provides a beacon of hope for what L&D teams can achieve with senior ambassadors on board. According to their report, just 22% of L&D teams say that “all stakeholders share our vision for organisational learning.” However, this skyrockets to 88% among high-impact learning cultures (the top 10% of surveyed organisations). As such, high-impact L&D teams have a shared vision from executives through to learners and reap the rewards.
With this in mind, you might be asking yourself, who are my L&D champions? Who are the people on the front lines drumming up enthusiasm about L&D in my organisation? If you are drawing a blank, then addressing this issue should be your number one priority. Internal championship from executives and other senior leaders is now an essential part of any successful L&D strategy.
Your champions should be enthusiastic about pushing your L&D strategy forward and promoting it at any opportunity. They should also focus on driving higher engagement and showing your learners the personal and professional benefits of L&D in your organisation.
You can have the world’s most sophisticated L&D infrastructure, but if your learners don’t know about it, then it’s all for nothing.
According to eLearning Industry, lack of awareness is a major problem for L&D, with a whopping 65% of L&D professionals saying their learners are not aware of the learning opportunities available at their organisation.
As such, L&D teams must make an effort to ‘sell’ learning to learners. It’s no good sitting back and waiting for your learners to come to you. If they are unaware of the benefits of your L&D program, that day may never come.
As Training Industry points out, “employees will not always come running when the latest courses are released. They have far too much work to bother with taking on training that does not seem valuable to them. As a result, learning and development (L&D) teams must place a higher priority on marketing their learning programs to see employees engage with their new training offers.”
In other words, it is vital to actively promote your learning via a variety of mediums that learners are likely to engage with, to ensure they are aware of the full spectrum of opportunities that your L&D program offers.
Executive championship is one step in this process. However, promoting learning to your learners requires ongoing effort. For starters, ask yourself, what’s in it for the learner? Why should they care about your L&D strategy? What are your unique selling points to engage learners? Once you have clearly defined answers to these questions, you can start sharing these points with your learners to increase interest and engagement.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest roadblocks in this area is resistance to change. Emerald Works' 2020 State of Learning Report shows that 36% of L&D leaders have traditional expectations that are difficult to challenge. When teams are resistant to change and set in their ways, it is far harder to promote learning initiatives and engage your learner. Don’t be afraid to challenge traditional L&D norms and think outside the box when promoting learning to your learners.